Q&A - Spring 2014

What health improvements do people typically experience after weight-loss surgery?

“We see a lot of people whose diabetes improves, which decreases long-term concerns about complications such as heart attack, stroke, amputations, and kidney failure. Others have improvement of their hypertension or sleep apnea. We also see many patients who have severe osteoarthritis and can’t even walk, and it’s because our joints aren’t meant to hold that much weight. Losing weight with bariatric surgery allows those patients to have orthopaedic surgery that improves their quality of life—not needing a wheelchair or feeling like they have to be confined.”

Not a quick fix:

Bariatric surgery will help you lose weight, but you’ll also need to be disciplined and committed to diet and exercise afterward to have the best chance of long-term success.

Melanie Hafford, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

What causes kidney stones?

“There are many reasons that people produce kidney stones. Some increased risks for stone formation are inherited, some are due to diet, and some are due to abnormalities in the way our bodies handle certain minerals, such as calcium. Low urine volume, from inadequate liquid intake or exposure to dehydrating circumstances like vigorous exercise, and high urine calcium are also common reasons for producing stones. Other causes include high urine oxalate, another component of calcium stones, and low citrate, which is an inhibitor that helps protect against stone production.”

Eat right to avoid stones:

Although some people who form stones require medication to correct the problem, most patients can benefit from dietary measures such as increased liquid intake, limited meat intake (including red meat, fish, chicken, and pork), restricted salt intake, normal but not excessive calcium intake, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Margaret Pearle, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Urology and Internal Medicine

Can flat feet cause serious problems?

“Flat feet in children are often no significant concern unless there is pain and limitation of their daily activities. In adults, flat feet can develop from weakening of the tendon that supports the arch. With overuse, patients can develop microscopic tears along this tendon. Initially, patients might think it is a sprain that will resolve itself, but with repetitive microstress to the area on a daily basis, the tendon tear will worsen and cause the arch to collapse. That can lead to a painful condition called adult-acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD), which is most often seen in women ages 40 to 60.”

Aching feet? Tell your doctor:

In its early stages, AAFD usually can be treated with rest and wearing appropriate shoes with prescription inserts. Advanced AAFD might require surgery to reconstruct the arch or joint fusions to realign the foot.

George Liu, D.P.M.
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery